Údarás na Gaeltachta Grants: A Comprehensive Guide for Irish Business Owners
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With this in mind, FDC Group is sharing a range of financial incentives in the form of grant assistance to support your business needs. The following incentives are available through Údarás na Gaeltachta.
1 Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters Grant (TAME)
- Grant Covers 50% of eligible costs (excluding vat) to a max of grant of €2,500.
- Applications must be made prior to any expenditure being incurred.
- Grant payments will be made to approved projects on receipt of proof of payment of all qualifying and approved expenses.
Businesses eligible for support:
- Business enterprises not employing more than 10 employees and who are engaged in manufacturing or internationally traded services and who wish to explore an export for their product/service or proposed product/ service.
- Enterprises must not have received any funding for this proposal from any other source.
Eligible expenditure categories
- Trade Show Exhibitor costs
- Export Specific Marketing Materials
- Export related website development
- Translation of existing material (booklets, webpages, etc. for export markets)
- Investigation of new internal or external processes to develop export business, e.g. new business model or the carrying out of non-regulatory technical requirements.
2 Feasibility Study Grant
Feasibility study grant aid is available to groups, organisations, businesses or individuals to allow them to assess the viability of a business idea.
A significant portion of costs directly related to the feasibility study may be covered. Examples of eligible costs are salaries and wages of the company’s personnel, cost of consultants, related travel and subsistence and any other additional overheads incurred directly as a result of the Feasibility Study.
3 Research and Development Grant
Research and development grants are available to assist businesses develop innovative products, processes and services which will lead to an enhancement of their ability to perform in increasingly competitive markets.
Eligible costs include R&D Salaries, directly related additional overheads, the cost of capital assets to the extent and for the period of their use in the research project, costs of contractual research, technical knowledge and patents bought or licensed from outside sources, other operating expenses including costs of materials, supplies, travel and subsistence and other similar costs directly related to the research activity.
4 Online Trading Scheme
The Trading Online Scheme is being provided in order to increase the number of Gaeltacht businesses trading online and to increase the level of Gaeltacht business sales online. This scheme has been a valuable support to businesses in recent years and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance their capability to trade ‘online’ and, as a result of this, to stabilise and develop the employment foundation during this period.
Grant Rate and Amount:
Under the Trading Online Scheme a maximum grant of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure, excluding VAT, whichever is lesser, is available to eligible businesses to develop and strengthen their ability to trade ‘online’.*
Eligibility Criteria – The scheme is targeted at businesses with the following profile:
- Microenterprises (with up to ten employees) located in the Gaeltacht
- Which are trading for at least 6 months prior to date of application
- With an annual turnover of less than €2m a year, and
- Who wish to develop or to upgrade an e-commerce site (rather than a brochure/ website).
What can the grant be used for?
- IT consultation
- Development or upgrade of an e-commerce website
- Implementing Online payments or booking systems
- Purchase of Internet related software
- Purchase of online advertising (this purchase cannot make up more than 30% of approved Scheme costs and can only be drawn down in one payment phase)
- Developing an app (or multiplatform webpages)
- Development of a digital marketing strategy
- Implementing a digital marketing strategy
- Training/skills development specifically to establish and manage an on-line trading activity.
Evaluation – Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Value-added potential
- Export potential
- Job creation potential
- Financial Sustainability
What projects / sectors are eligible under this scheme?
Most business sectors are eligible under the scheme – there are, however, a limited number of ineligible projects / sectors which include:
- Air Travel
- Electrical product manufacturing
- Information Technology and Publishing
- Finance and Insurance
- Businesses with charitable status*
*Application will be accepted, on an exceptional basis in the 2023 scheme, from Gaeltacht firms in the education, community education, language education and arts firms as they are central to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s development programme.
Applications will be accepted, on an exceptional basis in the 2023 scheme, from Gaeltacht social enterprises and from firms from the Gaeltacht community development sector (including those with a charitable status) as long as the application has a commercial basis.
Please contact the local Údarás na Gaeltachta office to confirm eligibility in advance of making an application.
Expenditure ineligible under the scheme?
- Development of brochure websites (i.e., website which do not sell products or services online or which do not have an interactive booking function)
- Purchase of non-internet related software
- Anything other than online trading related activity.
Information regarding Scheme administration
- Scheme approval must be gained prior to incurring any expense. It is in writing that Údarás na Gaeltachta confirms scheme approval for the applicant in question. Applicants must return signed letter of offer.
- Own labour is not an eligible expense.
- Only third party supplier costs which have been chosen and stated on the application will be included.
- All third party/supplier invoices must contain proper business details (e.g. Tax and Business Registration details to prove supplier is registered as a business in the place that they are located).
- Each relevant supporting document should accompany the application form:
- Copy of estimates from suppliers together with details of the work that is to be carried out and the costs associated with it;
- Evidence of duration of trading if the business is not registered or if applicant is a sole trader;
- Application can be declined on failure to provide supporting documents;
- Applicants must submit one grant claim only at the end of the project.
- Applicants should retain all relevant paperwork during the project to assist them in processing their own claim at the end of the project, including: applicant Tax Clearance Certificate, the original invoice from the supplier, evidence that the supplier has been paid and Declaration of project completion by supplier.
5 Capital Grant
Údarás na Gaeltachta can provide assistance by way of capital grant to enterprises seeking aid for an initial investment for capital expenditure costs.
Instances where a proposed investment qualifies as an initial investment include the following:
- The setting up of a new establishment,
- The extension of an existing establishment,
- Diversification of the output of an establishment into new, additional products,
- A fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment.
In this case the acquisition of the capital assets refers directly to an establishment, where the establishment has closed or would have closed had it not been purchased, and the assets are bought by an independent investor. The sole acquisition of the shares of an undertaking does not constitute initial investment.
Capital grants can be paid for initial investment in material and immaterial assets.
Material assets refers to assets relating to land, building and plant and machinery. Immaterial assets refer to assets entailed by the transfer of technology through the acquisition of patent rights, licences know-how or unpatented technical knowledge.
6 Employment Grant
Enterprises embarking on an initial investment project may apply for assistance towards job creation costs. Referred to as an employment grant, aid is calculated by reference to the expected wage costs over the first two years of jobs created as a result of an initial investment project.
An tÚdarás may provide grant aid to businesses to cover the cost of employing staff on a full-time or part-time basis with the amount of aid payable varying with the required skill level and the related cost of staff. The geographic location of a project also impacts on the amount of aid payable.
Half of the grant aid is paid when the job commences and the balance is normally paid when the job has been in existence for six months.
7 Training Grant
Diversifying and expanding your business brings with it the requirement for new skills and expertise. Under the Training Grants Scheme, Údarás na Gaeltachta provides assistance for training programmes that train or retrain employees.
Eligible expenditure includes that related to the trainers travelling expenses, materials/supplies, advice and consultancy and wages. The grant aid level varies according to the type of training involved and whether it is of a specific or general nature.
8 Commercial Aquaculture Development Scheme
Under the Irish Seafood National Programme 2007-2013, applications are now being invited for grant assistance under the above Scheme. The Scheme provides grant aid, at a rate of up to 40% of eligible investment costs, to promote the commercial development of aquaculture on a basis which is financially, technically and environmentally sustainable.
Applications should be submitted to the agencies at the addresses listed below before 31 October 2014.
All applications received will be assessed for eligibility, prioritised for financial assistance and subsequently submitted to an external Selection Board for a decision on grant aid.
Applications are invited from SMEs engaged in aquaculture whose investment plans:
- Contribute to lasting economic benefits from the structural improvements in question
- Offer a sufficient guarantee of technical and economic viability and environmental sustainability
- Avoid counter productive effects, particularly the risk of creating surplus production capacity
In order to be considered for aid under the scheme, the following criteria will apply:
- Sites must be licensed under the relevant Fisheries and Foreshore, and Planning Acts, as appropriate and licence fee payments must be up-to-date
- Where an aquaculture operation is located in or adjacent to a Natura 2000 designated area, financial assistance will only be provided where the operator is fully licensed following the Habitats Directive appropriate assessment for that site, taking due account of the outcome of that assessment
- Projects must be consistent with The Seafood Development Operational Programme 2007-2013
- An SME applying for grant aid must demonstrate that, in addition to any grant assistance sought, they have the financial, human and technical resources required to successfully implement the investment programme
- Harbour dues and any other monies owing to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or to either of the agencies, must be paid in full
9 Equity Investment
Údarás can take an equity stake in small and medium enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases where this is of strategic importance to the development of the enterprise.
A comprehensive business plan and complete application form must be submitted as part of the application.
10 Consultancy Services
This scheme provides assistance to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for the provision of expert advice in the required areas to assist in the long-term development of the enterprise.
11 Development of Market Research Skills
This initiative aims to develop the market development skills of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing support towards internal costs which they may incur when researching new markets for products and services. Eligible costs include the wages of those employed to undertake the marketing programme, travel and subsistence, and internal costs in relation to new market trials for products/services.
This assistance is provided under the De Minimis rule. Under the De Minimis rule the European Union allows aid to be given outside the normal rules for state aid provided that the cumulative aid under the De Minimis rule to any one applicant, from whatever state organisations, does not exceed €200,000 in any three fiscal year period. To propose aid under the rule it must be in accordance with a scheme or schemes approved for Údarás na Gaeltachta, and state that the aid is being proposed under the De Minimis rule, and that it conforms to the conditions and process that apply to the rule.
It must also be noted that aid under the De Minimis rule is not permitted in primary production of agricultural products, fisheries and aquaculture and that a maximum of €100,000 in any three year period applies to the road transport sector.
12 Trade Fair Participation Scheme
This initiative aims to assist SMEs to disseminate information about and to obtain market data on their products by providing support towards the cost of the first time participation in a particular trade fair or exhibition. Eligible costs include those of stand rental, setting up and running the stand, economy airfares and subsistence.
13 Innovation Voucher
What is the Innovation Voucher Initiative?
If you are located in the Gaeltacht, own or manage a small limited company and want to explore a business opportunity or obstacle you can apply to Údarás na Gaeltachta for an Innovation Voucher worth €5,000. The voucher can be exchanged for advice and expertise from participating knowledge providers (universities, institutes of technology or publicly funded research bodies).
What can I use an Innovation Voucher for?
- Innovation or technology audits with your business
- Tailored training in innovation management
- New business model development
- New service delivery and customer interface
- New service development
- Product and service testing and economic impact assessment
- Efficiency audits and process change
- Supply chain management and logistics.
By participating in the Innovation Voucher initiative, you can concentrate on running your business while knowledge providers come up with a solution that could take your business to the next level.
Who can apply?
All small registered limited companies in the Gaeltacht are eligible to apply for an Innovation Voucher. (A small enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has fewer than 50 employees and has either an annual turnover and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €10m). The only exclusions are small enterprises in the transportation and agricultural sectors, in line with State Aid guidelines.
You are also free to join with other small businesses also in receipt of an Innovation Voucher to work with a knowledge provider in solving an issue of common concern, up to a maximum number of ten companies.
The knowledge providers
Companies can approach any Institute of Technology, University or publicly-funded research organisation provided those research bodies have agreed to participate in the Innovation Voucher initiative.
The knowledge provider and the company should also ensure that all agreements, for example agreements covering the work programme, costs, non-disclosure and intellectual property, be signed by both parties before the commencement of the project activity.
What is the full cost of the project?
The value of the voucher is €5,000 which is used to offset the final costs of the project activity as agreed between the company and the knowledge provider. In the event that the final costs are greater than €5,000 the company will pay the balance.
When the work programme has been completed, the knowledge provider will invoice the company in relation to the agreed work programme. The company will then hand over the voucher and any additional monies required in payment of the invoice. The knowledge provider subsequently returns the voucher, and a short project report, to Údarás na Gaeltachta to claim the €5,000 reimbursement of the voucher.
Please note that the Innovation Voucher is exclusive of VAT.
Can a company have more than one voucher?
A company may make use of the Innovation Voucher initiative as frequently as required. However, a company may have only one ‘active’ voucher at any point in time. A voucher becomes ‘inactive’ when the project activity has been completed and the voucher returned to Údarás na Gaeltachta by the knowledge provider. When a voucher becomes ‘inactive’ a company may then apply for a further voucher with a new innovative project. Please note that Údarás na Gaeltachta will not award a second voucher for a previously funded activity.
When can I apply?
There are no open call for applications at present.
Please take the time to advise Údarás na Gaeltachta when your innovation voucher project has commenced. You can do this by sending a short email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your knowledge provider and the start date of the project.
Should you wish to contact the Innovation Voucher programme manager or are experiencing difficulty locating relevant expertise please email email@example.com or call 091 503100.